Texas Cancer Center gives hope to cancer patients, doctors urge regular screening

Speaking in an exclusive interview, the hospital’s Managing Director, Dr Catherine Nyongesa urged Kenyans to go for regular screening.

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 15, 2019 – There are 47,887 new Cancer cases reported every year in Kenya, out of which 32,987 die, according to medics.

Founded in 2010, Texas Cancer Center is a sixty-bed capacity hospital situated along Mbagathi Road serving a total of a thousand patients daily.

Being the pioneer Cancer hospital in Kenya, it has the state-of-art treatment facilities giving hope to thousands of Kenyans. Speaking in an exclusive interview, the hospital’s Managing Director, Dr Catherine Nyongesa urged Kenyans to go for regular screening.

She dissuaded them against travelling abroad for treatment since the disease is manageable when discovered at early stage.

According to Dr Nyongesa, 60 per cent of those suffering from Cancer are women while men comprise 40 per cent. The Oncologist attributed the higher number in women to their natural routine of going for medical check-up as compared to men who majority do not.

Nairobi County is leading in number of new Cancer cases reported. Top most five common Cancers in Kenya are Breast cancer with five thousand nine hundred and eighty five cases reported annually and two thousand five hundred and fifty three deaths.

It is followed by Cervical Cancer recording 5,250 new cases annually and 3,286 deaths. Esophagus comes third recording 4,380 new cases and 4,351 deaths, Prostate cancer comes fourth recording 2,864 new cases and 1,683 deaths, Colorectal cancer is the fifth most common cancer recording two thousand three hundred and sixteen new cases and one thousand four hundred and sixty six deaths.

Cancer diagnosis includes several tests such as biopsy, which is tissue test, CT Scan, surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy according to the type and stage of cancer diagnosed.

Despite this rising cases, Kenya has made a significant milestone in treatment facilities compared to other East African countries that is Uganda and Tanzania.

Uganda recorded thirty two thousand new cases six hundred and  seventeen and twenty one thousand eight hundred and twenty nine deaths in twenty eighteen while Tanzania registered a total of fourth two thousand and sixty new cases and twenty eight thousand six hundred and ten deaths.

Cancer diagnosis includes several tests such as biopsy, which is tissue test, CT Scan, surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy according to the type and stage of cancer diagnosed.

Dr Nyongesa has recommended use of modern researched medicine as opposed to herbal medicine. However, he cautions that drugs may have side effects on the patients, which includes, wounds, bleeding, pain, skin changes, infertility, hair loss, irritation on stomach, nausea, cardiac arrest, breathing complications, vomiting, diarrhea and low libido.

Doctors say the disease does not warrant a declaration as national disaster despite the alarming rise in new cases, though the government has been  urged to step up awareness creation and strengthening of diagnostic services and to consider subsidizing cancer drugs and zero rating treatment equipment.

In capacity building, the government should train more Oncologists to mitigate the shortage. Currently, there are only 35 Oncologists in Kenya.

It is worth noting that currently Kenyans are able to access chemotherapy services in 7 county referral hospitals. That is: Mombasa, Kisumu, Kakamega, Garisa, Nyeri, Nakuru and Meru.

At the same time, Oncology packages through NHIF has enabled Kenyans access Cancer treatment across public and private sector, which has helped reduce the waiting time to access radiotherapy services at Kenyatta National hospital.

However, there is need for the ministry of health to speed up development of National Cancer Registry

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